Erin Go Braugh!

May the leprechauns be near you, to spread luck along your way.
And, may all the Irish angels smile upon you St. Patrick’s Day.”

Corned beef is a long-standing American St. Patrick’s Day tradition. In Ireland, the St. Patrick’s Day meal would most likely be ham and cabbage. Corned beef is a beef brisket or round roast cured in brine which leaves the beef bright red and flavorful. The meat remains pink when cooked, and because the beef is a tough cut of meat, requires longer cooking to render it tender. “Corned” refers to the salt grains used many years ago to cure or preserve meats. For fork-tender results, never boil corned beef. My easy recipe is a crock pot version of the classic method still preferred by most chefs. This week’s featured recipe offers a tasty twist on the traditional Reuben. A savory filling of corned beed, sauerkraut and swiss cheese is enhanced by layered wrappers of buttery phyllo pastry. Irish Rose Mashed Potatoes are a colorful addition to any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Organic potatoes of all colors are available in the early spring. Leprechaun Chow is a sweet snack that’s also fun to share. Everyone’s a little bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! There’s no better time to sample a few favorite Irish recipes and raise your glass to all things green. Erin go braugh! Ireland forever!

Corned Beef
1 (4-pound) corned beef brisket
Place corned beef in a crock pot, fat side up. Add seasoning packet and cover meat with water. Cover and cook on high heat for 7 hours or until meat is tender. Remove corned beef from crock pot and place in a baking dish. Using a fork, gently remove fat and discard. Slice corned beef against the grain, diagonally and thin. Serves 8 to 10.

Reuben Strudel
1 pound thinly sliced corned beef
1 (16-ounce) jar sauerkraut
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
¼ cup melted *Irish butter
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
16 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed in refrigerator
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Cut corned beef into ½-inch strips; set aside. Drain sauerkraut; squeeze dry and place in a medium bowl. Add caraway seeds, onion and garlic to sauerkraut; mix well to combine. In a small bowl, mix melted butter with Dijon mustard; set aside. Unfold phyllo. Stack 8 sheets of phyllo on a flat surface covered with wax paper, brushing every other sheet with the butter-mustard mixture. Spoon half of the sauerkraut mixture lengthwise down half of phyllo stack, spreading to within 2 inches of edges. Top with half of corned beef and half of cheese. Fold in the short edges 2 inches and roll up, starting at long edge of phyllo nearest the filling. Place, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Cut ¼-inch-deep diagonal slits, 1 inch apart, across top. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo dough, butter mixture and filling. Brush both strudels with remaining butter-mustard mixture. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden. Cut diagonally into 4-inch slices. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8. *Irish butter may be found on the refrigerated dairy aisle of your local grocery store.

Irish Rose Mashed Potatoes
1 (28-ounce) bag enchanted rose organic potatoes
4 tablespoons *Irish butter
2 tablespoons cream cheese or sour cream
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped green onions, to garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add butter, cream cheese and milk and mash with a potato masher or hand held mixer. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serves 6 to 8. *Irish butter may be found on the refrigerated dairy aisle of your local grocery store.

Leprechaun Chow
1 (3.3-ounce) bag microwave popcorn (about 4 cups)
1 (8-ounce) package Pepperidge Farm goldfish pretzels
2 cups Crispix cereal
1 (12-ounce) package white baking chips
Green and white candy sprinkles
1½ cups green M&M’s
Pop popcorn according to package directions. Spread popcorn, pretzels and cereal on a large baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Melt baking chips in microwave according to package directions; drizzle melted chips over mixture on baking sheet. Add candy sprinkles. Gently stir to coat evenly. Let harden for 30 minutes. Break pieces apart and add M&M’s. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 10 cups.

The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of two cookbooks, Gold Medal Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at dbc@cateringbydebbicovington.com.